Looking for Leadership: The Dilemma of Political Leadership in Japan
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Democratic leaders around the world are finding it increasingly difficult to exercise strong leadership and maintain public support. However, there is nowhere that this has proven to be as challenging of a task as Japan, which has seen its top leaders change more often over the past 25 years than any other major country in the world. The current prime minister has strived to put an end to this pattern, but can he buck this historical trend? More fundamentally, why do Japan's prime ministers find it so difficult to project strong leadership, or even stay in office? And what are the ramifications for Japan's partners and for the world? This volume, authored by contributors who straddle the scholarly and policymaking worlds in Japan, explores the obstacles facing Japan as it looks for greater leadership and explains why this matters for the rest of the world.
Noda and explain the reasons for their brief tenancies. Finally, the concluding section makes a brief comparison between the short-tenured prime ministers and Prime Minister Koizumi to highlight the causes of the short-term prime ministers, and then it examines the implications of the arguments made by this chapter for the Japanese parliamentary system. THE NATURE OF THE JAPANESE PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM Two Types of Parliamentary Systems Arend Lijphart's study of democratic governance offers a
power just one year each by the end of the “Era of Regime Change.” If one adds in the “Democratic Party Era” immediately thereafter, from 2009 to 2012, there were six prime ministers in 6.3 years, making the average just over 1 year per person, meaning that the 2006–2012 period was the one in which the average term of each prime minister was the shortest. These years in which prime ministers changed annually came to symbolize the lack of leadership in Japanese politics (see table 2). Table 2.
Lower House election resulted in a change in the party in power and therefore a change in prime minister: 1993, 2009, and 2012. There were also two cases in which the LDP appointed a new prime minister following a Lower House election. One was in 1976, when the LDP lost its majority of seats in the Lower House election for the first time and Prime Minister Takeo Miki resigned to take responsibility for the defeat, while the other was in 1980, when Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira died while in
addition, three prime ministers resigned following losses in Upper House elections: Sosuke Uno in 1989, Ryutaro Hashimoto in 1996, and Shinzo Abe in 2007. Another case that is similar in spirit is that of Yasuo Fukuda, who resigned in 2008, explaining that it was due to the difficulties he faced in managing the twisted Diet that he inherited after the party's 2007 Upper House election loss. Meanwhile, low levels of public support accounted for another three resignations. When a cabinet's
Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan (speech given on the occasion of the 16th International Conference on the Future of Asia, hosted by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Tokyo, May 20, 2010), http://japan.kantei.go.jp/hatoyama/statement/201005/20speech_e.html. 24. Cabinet Secretariat of Japan, “Policies of ‘East Asian Community,’” June 1, 2010 (in Japanese), http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/tyoukanpress/201006/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2010/06/01/koso_east_asia.pdf. 25. Tsuyoshi Sunohara, Anto: Senkaku